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Sharp GX-10

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  • Editors' rating
    7.8 Very good

Pros

  • Easy-to-use built-in camera
  • good support for Java games.

Cons

  • No facility to transfer files (pictures) to and from the phone, except via MMS at 36p a go.

At a glance, the GX-10 looks much like any other 'clamshell'-style mobile phone -- if perhaps a little larger. Take longer look and you might spot the 110Kpixel digital camera on the reverse side of the earpiece. In terms of size it's much more like a normal mobile phone than other camera phones such as Nokia's 7650 or Ericsson's P800.

This dual-band GSM/GPRS phone's chrome-effect plastic finish looks good, although it's irritatingly easy to scratch or mark. Flip the phone open and you're confronted with a colour screen and a set of chrome-effect keys, which have a clicky rather than rubbery feel. Except for the earpiece, the whole upper half of the inside of the phone is occupied by a very crisp 120-by-160 pixel TFT colour display -- one of the best we've seen on a mobile phone so far.

Navigation is performed using a rocker-type joystick, a central button to execute your current selection and two soft keys whose function is illustrated at the bottom of the screen. Unfortunately, the menu system is clunky and counter-intuitive, often requiring much finger-work as you seek a desired option.

Thankfully, the camera is easy to operate: select Camera from the menu, preview the image on-screen and 'shoot' using the central button. There are five different light settings for varying conditions, three different image sizes to choose from, there's also a 2X digital zoom to help you to get a bit closer to the action.

Images, either from the built-in camera or that have been received via MMS, can be saved onto the phone in an impressive number of different formats -- BMP, PNG, JPEG, GIF, WBMP, WPNG. From this list of saved photos it's easy to send them to another phone or email account via MMS. You can rename the photos, but there's no thumbnail view of the image directory, which is a bit of a disappointment.

Three fairly basic games are bundled with the phone, but the real wonder of the GX-10 is its J2ME Java runtime environment, which supports Java games -- Vodafone live! offers a good selection on a pay-per-download basis. The quality of the games that we downloaded surpassed anything we've seen on a phone before; matched with the GX-10's excellent screen, they were a pleasure to play.

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The GX-10 works well for normal phone calls, too: there's a backlit LCD on the outside of the phone so that you can see who's calling before you flip the phone open and accept the call. The speaker volume and speech quality are both good.

The phone has infrared, but you can only use this for modem functionality. Also, there's no bluetooth support and no mention of a data cable that will allow you to transfer files to and from the device. Therefore, it's not possible to get photos from the phone onto another device without using MMS.

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